10 Homework Tips to Avoid the 4th Quarter Slump

I met Ann Dolin, author of “Homework Made Simple“, last year on the set of a local TV show. She was the designated education expert, advising parents on placement testing. We chatted for a few minutes and exchanged info. A few weeks later, I started receiving her business’ newsletter. At first I rolled my eyes and sighed: Awesome. One more thing clogging up my inbox that I need to unsubscribe from.

Then I read it. It was so helpful. The quality of the material in her newsletters was so helpful in fact, that I couldn’t believe (1) it was free and (2) that it wasn’t on some major website. This stuff was great! Well-written, actionable, realistic, smart and filled with great resources. To see what I’m talking about, check out her website.

I asked Ann to collaborate on a post with me to deal with the dreaded 4th quarter slump. Spring Break is ancient history but summer break seems really far away. My kids, normally good students, are burnt out. They’re totally unfocused and unmotivated right now. They want to play outside now that the weather is nice, not study for spelling tests. To be honest, I’m not interested in fighting any more homework battles either. I asked Ann for some tips and she sent me ten. Let’s take a look at them!

  • Let’s get started! 1 of 12
    Let's get started!
  • Designated Homework Time 2 of 12
    Designated Homework Time
    If following through with homework is becoming problematic, consider "Designated Homework Time", a set amount of time that your child works on homework daily. The standard for homework is about 10 minutes per grade level, so a third grader should have about 30 minutes of homework and a 5th grader should have roughly fifty. Reserve this time in your child's schedule whether they say they have homework or not.

    photo credit: Photo Stock
  • Tie Privileges to the Process Not the Product 3 of 12
    Tie Privileges to the Process Not the Product
    Rather than rewarding your child for grades, such as an A on a spelling test, reward them simply for studying. A good reward shouldn't be a toy or game; it should be a privilege. An extra 20 minutes of video game time or a slightly later bedtime often does the trick.

    photo credit: Phaitoon
  • Factor in Exercise to Boost Attention 4 of 12
    Factor in Exercise to Boost Attention
    All kids are different. Some are more efficient when they start homework right after school, but others need some time to relax or run around beforehand. For those that need a break, consider exercise instead of TV or video games. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise for twenty minutes before learning can have the same positive effect on focus as a stimulant medication designed to treat ADHD.

    photo credit: Photo Stock
  • Resist Paying for Grades 5 of 12
    Resist Paying for Grades
    Paying your child for good report card grades is not an effective means of motivation for two reasons. The first is that students cannot sustain motivation for an entire marking period the payoff is too far away. Secondly, students get the idea that they would only work hard in school to earn money, not for the love of learning.

    photo credit: Stock Images
  • Empathize with Your Child 6 of 12
    Empathize with Your Child
    A lot of times kids will say, "I wish I could play outside! It's so nice!" As a parent, it's important to empathize with them rather than devalue their comments. Try saying, "You're right, it is nice outside and I completely understand why you'd like to be outside playing. Finish your work and you can go outside."

    photo credit: Stock Images
  • Try Saying “Yes” More Often 7 of 12
    Try Saying "Yes" More Often
    A "yes" response to your child's request will put her in a better mindset than if she hears "no" right off the bat. For example, if your daughter asks to play at a friend's house, but still has a book report to do, instead of replying, "No, you need to do your homework" try saying, "Yes, absolutely! When you finish your homework you can go to Debbie's house to play."

    photo credit: Stock Images
  • Have a Public Calendar 8 of 12
    Have a Public Calendar
    With so many things going on in the spring tests, spring sports, and extracurriculars kids have a hard time remembering everything they have to do. I recommend purchasing the Wall Manager Magnetic Monthly Calendar from the Martha Stewart office collection which can be found at Staples. It's an easy way to keep track of kids' schedules and for them to know what's coming up.

    photo credit: David Castillo Dominici
  • Use Sunday Nights for Planning for the Week 9 of 12
    Use Sunday Nights for Planning for the Week
    Sunday nights are a great time to map out upcoming tests and long-term projects. Break down the upcoming projects into small chunks spread out throughout the week. For example, if your daughter has a history test on Friday, encourage her to study small portions of the material each evening leading up to the test instead of cramming it in the night before.

    photo credit: Stock Images
  • Visual reminders always trump verbal reminders 10 of 12
    Visual reminders always trump verbal reminders
    If your student needs to schedule time to study for a spelling test and complete his book report, instead of nagging him with constant verbal reminders, simply jot down the words "spelling test" and "book report" on a post-it note. Place it in his study area as a visual reminder. Students always respond more positively to visual reminders than verbal ones.

    photo credit: Stuart Miles
  • Use a Timer 11 of 12
    Use a Timer
    At times, students procrastinate because they can't muster the energy to get started. Tackle this problem by encouraging your child to set a timer for just ten minutes. Say to him, "Work and focus as hard as you can for just ten minutes. Then you can take a break or keep on going." Most times, kids can keep going, but they need a sense of urgency to get started. I call this the "Tolerable Ten". The idea is that anyone can do anything for just ten minutes.

    photo credit: Amazon. This cool timer is only about $5!
  • This is Ann! 12 of 12
    This is Ann!
    Learn more about Ann and subscribe to her awesome newsletter on her website. Check out her book on Amazon.

Please join me here for more Rants in My Pants (they’re not catching). You can also find me at Rants from MommylandFacebookTwitter, and being really stupid on Pinterest.



Article Posted 3 years Ago
share this article
facebook twitter tumblr pinterest
See Comments
what do you think?
share this article
facebook twitter tumblr pinterest
See Comments
what do you think?
what do you think?
close comments
Subscribe to the
Follow us on